Intrapreneurship: More Responsibility and More Money
The last time I saw Morgan Straus he was on a skateboard. What a pleasure it was to discover that he had been profiled as an up and coming intrapreneur!
The following case study is a good example of how fast you can move up in business if you stop thinking about yourself and your role as an employee and start thinking, “How can I bring my company more business?”
If there were more employees like Morgan Strauss in America, we wouldn’t have to worry about China overtaking us. Entrepreneurs and their corporate cousins, intrapreneurs, are responsible for most of the new growth and new employment in any economy. They deserve the praise and compensation they get.
Morgan Strauss had been working for three years at Audio Advisors, a West Palm Beach-based customer electronics firm, when he presented an idea that would improve efficiency to the company president. In doing so, he set the stage to transform himself from regular employee into an intrapreneur.
An intrapreneur acts as an entrepreneur within the company, using the same business building techniques to create, market, and sell innovative new products. In return for increased pay, benefits, and the freedom to pursue new ventures, the intrapreneur and his or her team must consistently create products that are embraced by the market and become a major revenue source for the company.
“He [the company president] backed it. I had already proven myself a hard worker, but this is the first time the company had done anything like this,” recounts Strauss. “My job changed completely. I was in charge of marketing one day, and then all of a sudden I was running a software company – something new to me and everyone else in the company. It was a challenge.”
That company, GuiFX, develops templates for touch screens and graphical control panels that you see on self-service kiosks, computer terminals, high tech remote controls, and some websites. These products dovetail nicely with much of the work Audio Advisors does in installing high end home theater and custom car audio systems.
“I enjoy being an intrapreneur. Yes, there’s more stress, but there’s a big payoff too. More responsibilities, more freedom, more respect, and more money,” says Strauss. “I share some departmental resources like accounting and human resources. Other than that I really am an entrepreneur. While I receive a steady paycheck and regular pay raises, as an intrapreneur I also own a piece of any business I create. The better the business performs, the bigger my dividends are at the end of the year.”
Strauss’ division currently accounts for 10 percent of the company’s net profits, but he and his team predict that will rise to more than 50 percent within two years, making them the major profit center for the company.
A few months ago, his bosses offered him $500,000 and a storefront to start another company. Strauss told them all he needed was $50,000 and that he didn’t need any more space.
That business was Koloroo, which offers various useful and fun applications, known as “widgets,” for the popular iPod, as well as Windows Mobile Pocket PCs.
KolorWheel allows you to scroll through 384 different scientifically formulated color schemes – four matching colors in moments. Tipkalc will split a bill up to five ways, with or without a tip, and display a 15% or 20% tip on the total. Strauss sells about 100 of these widgets each day on his Web site.
MystikBall is a high tech take on the classic Magic 8-Ball, and KolorDance allows you to be the choreographer of an iPod commercial-style music video. KolorCapture is an application similar to KolorWheel for Windows Mobile phones that will pick out matching colors based on photos you take with the phone. Sales of these more recent products, are also picking up, said Strauss.
It looks like Strauss’ bosses approve of his work so far.
“Yesterday, I was once again offered $500,000 and a storefront to start another business. Another new business? I’m thinking about it,” added Strauss.